Case Study

Tablecloth Cuts Data Wrangling Issues by 95% with Flatfile’s Data Importer

Elizabeth Bukys

Posted 8/27/2020

The millennial and Gen Z generations want their investments to do more than just make money. This has led to the rise of impact investing – investments made with the intention of generating positive, measurable social and environmental impact along with financial returns. Tablecloth built a complete business intelligence and data science platform founded on sound social science models for impact investors, private equity firms, and foundations. 

“We’re in the let’s-change-the-world business,” said Kelly Abbott, co-founder and CTO at Tablecloth. “The finance world is full of people who are good at making money. But there is a growing subsection of the industry that cares about more than making a profit. They want to matter.“

Tablecloth helps impact investors in healthcare, banking, and workforce development and more track and help evolve the environmental and social impact of the companies. Tablecloth leverages their advanced analytics platform to provide consultative services to help identify key metrics and track them as critical elements of a sustainable growth strategy:

  1. Accelerating data analysis by eliminating data wrangling issues
  2. Flatfile's data importer streamlines the data download process
  3. Saving tens of thousands of dollars with Flatfile's data importer

Accelerating data analysis by eliminating data wrangling issues

“Many of our competitors don’t have the technical proficiency that we do,” said Abbott. “Most are still working with Excel spreadsheets and PDFs. Our tech stack has all these investors communicating together, looking at the same data in real time so they can react to it quickly. We designed our platform around the idea that money needs to flow to what works and any kind of inefficiency is seen as a drag on the future profitability of that investment.”

The challenge for Tablecloth arose with a customer base focused on finance metrics, not outcomes-based data analytics. Rather than having customers develop methods for getting Tablecloth the data, the company developed methods for making whatever they provided fit. Flatfile is central to that effort.

To onboard clients’ data, Tablecloth provides them with data download templates, illustrating the kinds of metrics the company would like to analyze. Once they receive the files back, Tablecloth crunches the numbers and provides clients with the reports and analysis needed. The data import challenge they faced was the huge variance in types and formats of reports and data files. It resulted in an enormous amount of time spent by their team normalizing, just to load the data into the platform.

Flatfile's data importer streamlines the data download process

“Unfortunately we were spending a lot of time shaping data,” said Abbott. “With Flatfile, we have a tool that provides immediate input on problem files before we import them. We get nearly instant feedback that we can use to format the data in a different way to quickly correct formatting errors.”

Flatfile removed the data wrangling issues allowing Tablecloth to focus on areas where they can add the most value.

“Just not having that drain on our resources has been really helpful,” said Abbott. “It has made us more contemplative about the data we are asking clients for. We no longer have to avoid asking for data that may require too much time to fix. Flatfile eliminates that problem and has improved our willingness to experiment with different types of data we can incorporate into our analyses. The more time we spend tinkering with different data types, the more likely we are going to uncover the insight that produces additional value in the marketplace. That is indispensable for a startup like us.”

Streamlining the data download process while eliminating their data wrangling issues has enabled Tablecloth to dramatically accelerate getting key information to their clients. In an industry that is accustomed to annual reporting, the fact that Tablecloth can turn around results in days is a welcome breakthrough.

Saving tens of thousands of dollars with Flatfile's data importer

“Flatfile is a good tool for us,” said Abbott. “We have cut the amount of time we spend wrangling with files by 95%. We basically had all hands working to solve those problems at times. The reduction in effort has saved us tens of thousands of dollars. Flatfile is a really good value for us. We might have been able to build that kind of solution, but it would have taken resources away from other priorities. It was simpler to  buy Flatfile and use it. We’re glad we did.”

About Tablecloth

Tablecloth provides consultative services to help identify key metrics and track them as critical elements of your investment strategy. We can track and help evolve the environmental and social impact of the companies you invest in. The Tablecloth platform is built on inclusion, transparency, empowerment, adaptability, and accountability. For more information, visit https://about.tablecloth.io/

About Flatfile

Flatfile's mission is to remove barriers between humans and data. With AI-assisted data onboarding, they eliminate repetitive work and make B2B data transactions fast, intuitive, and error-free. Flatfile automatically learns how imported data should be structured and cleaned, enabling customers and teams to spend more time using their data instead of fixing it. Flatfile has transformed over 300 million rows of data for companies like ClickUp, Blackbaud, Benevity, and Toast. To learn more about Flatfile's products, Portal and Concierge, email [email protected] or get started for free at flatfile.io.

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